This is the second time in this decade that we have seen a modern city wiped off the face of the earth by violent natural events. It appears that an earthquake/tsunami trumps a hurricane. I could not believe what Katrina did to New Orleans, the destructive effects of the flooding and the wind were stunning. Fortunately the loss of life was amazingly low. In Sendai and northeastern Japan the damage is exponentially greater because the power of the water was enormous. Nothing could survive its force. If you picture yourself standing on that shore you cannot picture anything except oblivion. As the pictures pile up in the media you start to worry about your own safety. It was the Mayans, I believe, who predicted that the world will end in 2012. Events like this one lend more credence to this possibility. You feel such a deep sadness. Sometimes that Star Wars line about sensing a great disturbance in the force is exactly right.
On top of that we have the nuke issue. Six nuclear reactors in one area, that hits home. I live near three nuclear reactors. I never realized what could happen if there was no power; I did not realize that the core or the rods, or some part of the reactor, needs to be cooled constantly. Does it still have to be cooled after it is taken off-line? It sounds like it does. We used to demonstrate against nuclear power because we believed we did not have sufficient control over the process and the repercussions of a meltdown were serious, could not be overturned and would be long-lasting given the half-lives of these materials. It looks like we had good reasons for our concern.
So double whammy, if you weren’t swept away by a ji-normous wave you might have been poisoned by radiation. These events are almost biblical in their proportions. At the very least watching the misery that nature can unleash on us should make us more determined to cut down on the misery we inflict on each other.